TRYING to keep your pub customers happy while making enough cash to keep open has been a bit of problem in Barrow for decades - the 1960s saw public houses demolished for town centre developments and in recent times the buildings have been wanted for flats.

In the early 1980s tough economic times times kept many customers at home.

The Mail, on February 11 in 1981, noted: "Battered by the recession and hit by inflation, Furness drinkers are spending a lot less time and money in the pub.

"And the squeeze on their beer money is now being felt in bar tills up and down the area and some landlords have reported big drops in takings.

"Receipts at one Barrow town centre pub have slumped by several hundred pounds a week and the National Union of Licensed Victuallers is currently warning people to think twice before going into the licensed trade.”

Barrow LVA secretary Fred Fisher, manager of the Travellers' Rest, on Dalton Road, said: "Trade has slumped badly and it is the tenants who are feeling it the worst, they have no comeback.

"Because of the recession, a pub is not a viable proposition at the moment for many people."

Patricia Lamb, of the Robin Hood, in Crellin Street, said: "People don't seem to have as much money to spend and they are coming in hours later.”

Things were little better in 1986 when there was widespread opposition to plans for another drinking venue in competition with existing venues.

The Mail, on July 9, noted: "Barrow town centre has too many licensees with most of them running on an overdraft, claimed a Duke Street pub landlord.

"Mr Thomas Dover, of the Old Bank pub, told Barrow planning committee there were 46 pubs and clubs in the Abbey Road, Duke Street, Dalton Road triangle alone."

He opposed plans for a new wine bar on Duke Street and said: "The place is flooded with licences and the majority of licensees are running on an overdraft.

"There are too many - when does it stop?"

Councillors decided by a small majority to reject the application as being detrimental to the area.